Fort Smith metro area building activity dropped in November but regional permit values are much higher than this time last year. The area’s three biggest cities reported $15.46 million in November building permit values, down 59.8% from the $38.48 million in October but up 55.5% from the $9.94 million in November 2020.
Through the end of November, the region has reported a total permit value of $301.14 million, up 21.6% compared with $247.66 million reported through the end of November last year. The three cities ended 2020 with $264.757 million in permitted building activity, a 9.5% increase over the $241.741 million in 2019. The gain came mostly from Fort Smith, as Van Buren and Greenwood showed drops in their building numbers from 2019.
Fort Smith issued 155 permits in November with a value of $12.998 million, down 56.2% from the $29.67 million value of 168 permits issued in October. However, the total value is 47.2% higher than the $8.83 million value 116 permits issued in November 2020. Fort Smith’s year-to-date total through November is $257.31 million, a 17.6% increase from the $218.75 million reported through November 2020.
There were 21 permits issued for residential new construction in the month with a combined value of $3.73 million, an 18.7% decrease from the $4.59 million combined value of 18 residential new construction permits issued in October. The total was 97.4% higher than the $1.89 million in new residential construction reported in November 2020.
EATERIES AND STORAGE
The city issued three new commercial construction permits last month with a value of $5.218 million, a 92.3% increase from the $2.704 million value of two new commercial projects in October and a 76.3% increase from the $2.96 million value of one new commercial permit issued in November 2020.
The new commercial construction projects include a $2.92 million addition to RazorBox Storage at 8601 Chad Colley Blvd. Phase II of RazorBox Storage will add 49,150 square feet to the storage facility, which offers small and large storage units, RV and boat storage and climate controlled units.
A $1.8 million permit also was issued in November for a new Newk’s Eatery at 4801 Phoenix Ave., according to Jimmie Deer, director of building services for the city. The city also issued a $36,000 permit for foundation only at the site earlier in the month. Newk’s Eatery was founded in 2004, as “Newk’s Express Cafe” by Don Newcomb, Debra Bryson and Chris Newcomb, the founders of McAlister’s Deli. The first store was in Oxford, Miss. There are 21 Newk’s Eateries in Arkansas. This will be the first in Fort Smith.
VAN BUREN, GREENWOOD PROJECTS
Van Buren, the region’s second largest city, issued 82 permits in November with a value of $2.31 million, 68.95% decrease from the $7.44 million value of 62 permits issued in October but a 323% increase from the $546,150 value of 66 permits issued in November 2020.
The monthly activity included seven permits for new residential construction with a value of $1.565 million, a 34.7% decrease from the $1.162 million in new residential construction in October, but a 357% increase from the $342,100 in residential construction in November 2020.
There were two permits for commercial construction issued in November with a combined value of $160,000, which is a 97.5% drop from the $6.277 million in commercial construction reported in October, and a 21.59% decrease from the $204,050 in commercial construction permits issued in November 2020.
Year-to-date, Van Buren has had $33.86 million in permitted activity, up 67.2% from the $20.25 million reported through the first 11 months of 2020.
Greenwood issued 15 permits in November with a value of $150,997, an 89% decrease from the $1.373 million value of 13 permits issued in October and a 73% decrease from the $560,523 value of 23 permits issued in November 2020. The city’s value of permitted activity through the first 11 months of 2021 is $9.97 million, a 15.12% increase from the $8.66 million through November 2021.
REGIONAL BUILDING ACTIVITY RECAP
Combined total for the three cities
2020: $264.757 million
2019: $241.741 million
2018: $231.78 million
2017: $210.844 million
2016: $211.345 million
2015: $218.899 million
2014: $198.983 million
2013: $202.389 million
2012: $154.64 million
2011: $201.079 million
2010: $149 million